Help Broken People Rebuild Broken Walls
- Laverne Weber Guest Writer
- 2005 1 Nov
Sally* was a straight-A student until her absent father arrived on the scene. Because she so longed for her dad’s love, she was vulnerable to his subtle approaches. At 13, in her father’s van, Sally lost her virginity and her sense of worth. Her life plummeted until, at the age of 21, she found Jesus Christ as her Savior. But she wore a mask. Her big question was, “What if the people in my church ever found out?”
Jenny* was pregnant at 14 and her parents pushed her into having an abortion. Mother’s Day always brought back the shame and sorrow, even though she had a happy marriage and other children.
Inside Christ’s Church
If it is true that one child out of four has been sexually abused, it is also true that many of these children grow up and become a part of Christ’s Church. Besides those who have experienced sexual abuse, many people have been damaged in other ways. They wear masks to hide their pain, while wondering if God really cares.
In a time of increasing sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, our churches have a great need for Scripture-based ministry to those who are prisoners to the past. Fortunately, the Bible gives us an example for ministering to broken people.
The Fall of Judah
The fall of Judah had been devastating. Although God had warned His people over and over, they’d rejected His call. That brought judgment. Innocents suffered because others chose to sin. Now, God’s people remaining in Jerusalem were too defeated to rise above their ruins. Was there a God who heard their cries and cared about their tears?
Even though it seemed overwhelming, God had the answer. His name was Nehemiah. Nehemiah was not a man of great importance. In fact, because of the sins of his forefathers, Nehemiah was a prisoner of war, a lowly slave in Babylon. A man with issues of his own, Nehemiah did not realize that God was about to change his destiny.
As a slave elevated to the position of cupbearer and confidante to King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah understood that his very existence depended on a pleasant demeanor. It was the mask he wore. But on this particular day his pain was too great. He could not hide the deep sorrow in his eyes. Since hearing of the broken walls and the great piles of rubble in the city of Jerusalem, Nehemiah was devastated. What could be done? Who would go?
Nehemiah wept and fasted and prayed. His brokenness became a burden. When his burden grew so big that he could not keep his mask in place, he prayed a very specific prayer. God granted him favor with the king and Nehemiah went to the city of Jerusalem.
Surveying The Damage
Upon arrival, Nehemiah surveyed the damage. Quietly and at night, with only a few trusted men, he examined the broken walls of this once mighty City of God. He saw the gaps in the walls and the huge heaps of rubble. He listened to the enemies’ taunts. He heard the despair as the people of Judah cried, “there is so much rubble we cannot rebuild.” He sensed their fear and shame. Nehemiah saw broken walls and broken people. It looked hopeless but one man cared. He went beyond caring, he acted.
Broken people today face the same issues. It looks hopeless. The enemy taunts and frightens them. Do they dare to face their rubble? Denial, shame, fear, and depression push them back into the shadows. They need someone to help. What can we do to mend the broken walls in the body of Christ?
We must reach out with Christ’s compassion. Galatians 6:2 tells us, “Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (NIV).
Journey to Joy
The wounded members of the Body of Christ may be so weighed down with the pains of the past that they cannot be all that God plans for them to be. They may even pass their pain on to their families and to the church they attend. God calls us to minister to them, but how do we do this? One answer is a small group ministry where there is safety and confidentiality, acceptance and healing. That is what we did. We named it Journey to Joy.
At the very first Journey To Joy meeting a tear trickled slowly down Sally’s cheek, opening the door to the release of twenty years of pain. One day in a small group, with her hands covering her face, Jenny blurted out her abortion experience. Instead of rejection, she found love and acceptance and healing. Now she ministers to others in the church with an abortion in their past.
Nehemiah helped the broken people to rebuild their broken walls one brick at a time, while all the time carrying a sword in the other hand. The sword in Scripture symbolizes God’s powerful Word. The good news is that there is healing and freedom through Christ’s love coupled with God’s Word.
The hurting and broken are waiting for Christ’s Church to step into the gaps. We have the answer. We can do what Nehemiah did. We can help the broken parts of Christ’s Body know that God cares because we care. We can see damaged lives healed and fulfilling their role in the kingdom of God. We can make a difference. Will we?
* Names have been changed
For more information about Journey to Joy contact Laverne at 610-258-0858 or [email protected].